Discover How to Simplify Your Life as a Leader

Simplify your life

If you are feeling overloaded, it will be helpful to explore how to simplify your life as a leader. One area of this discovery process involves all the commitments you have taken on. There's no denying that busy people get asked to lend their time and expertise a lot.

In order to maximize your attentiveness, you may be well served by diminishing the number of responsibilities you have. Doing less things will give you more time and emotional energy for the high-priority tasks.

Sit on fewer boards, cancel some personal obligations, cut back on attending so many meetings, and spend less time out for the evening. Do whatever you have to do to devote the time and energy you need to achieve this desired outcome.

Be very sure that this is an activity of sufficient priority to cause you to make such significant changes. You will realize a side benefit: greater clarity around what is really important to you.

"You're looking to use your focusing powers to create more of what matters most to you in the moments you're able to schedule. When you realize what's really important, then say no to anything that consumes time but doesn't bring you closer to what matters most to you. If you can't say no, delegate it, speed through it, or eliminate it."

Robert Cooper, Get Out of Your Own Way

Five Days of Coaching to Help You Discover How to Simplify Your Life as a Leader

DAY ONE

If something is of sufficient priority, you need to concentrate on it. But you may be distracted by too many other responsibilities. Some may have to go, no matter how good they may seem. Take some time today to prioritize. What really needs doing? What needs to be dropped because you're too overstretched to devote true attention to the priorities?

The Coach asks:

  • First take some time to ask yourself why you are doing all the things you are doing? What are you getting out of it? What thinking drives you to take on so many commitments? 
  • As you work at discerning how to simplify your life as a leader, what really matters? 
  • What are those one or two commitments that truly "have your name attached?" What does this indicate about the rest? 
  • Make a list of commitments, that if you released them, would allow you to be more focused on the true priorities.


DAY TWO

Take action today to drop those responsibilities that you determined yesterday needed to go. Initiate the in-person conversation. Make the phone call. Write the email. Send the message. Take action.

The Coach asks:

  • Rehearse how you will respectfully decline continuing with this commitment. 
  • Take action to release yourself from one commitment. Was that tough to do? What feelings came up for you? How did you remain firm in your resolve but still maintain relationship?
  • What does this freed up time mean for you? 
  • How will you do the same or different for the next commitment you are releasing? Does anything in your approach need to be adjusted? Continue to take action. 


DAY THREE

Concentrate like never before on what matters. Get clarity. Take ownership. Put supportive structures in place, start and build momentum. Determine today to start making your actions reflect the priorities you hold.

The Coach asks:

  • What IS the priority?
  • What structure do you need to support the work on your priority? Put that in place.
  • Create a step by step plan that will keep you focused and create momentum over the next week.
  • Start (or keep going.) Persist.


DAY FOUR

Some things take time to ease out of. Be committed to the decision you have made. Take action today to be very clear about your leaving or your duties ceasing. See that steps are being taken to replace you and, if necessary, train those who will follow you.

The Coach asks:

  • What commitment will take a little longer to get out of? How can you facilitate your exit and feel like you have left the board, committee, team or group in the best shape you can?
  • How clear is it that you are finished? What needs to happen next? 
  • What time line needs to be agreed to or understood to enable this to happen smoothly? 
  • What will you need to do so that you are not drawn back into this? 


DAY FIVE

How can you convey to your key people that being involved in less may actually accomplish more? Communicate this powerful insight and strategy to them.

The Coach asks:

  • Reflect on how your own involvements and the way you spoke about being busy has affected your team? Have they followed your example in being "too busy?" 
  • You've taken the time to discover how to simplify your life as a leader. At least one strategy. How can you begin conveying the power of this insight to others? 
  • Who needs to "get" that less may actually be more? What do you think that might make possible for your team as a whole? 
  • Where will you start?


Record Your Progress

This is your opportunity to track your progress. Start by asking yourself how important this practice is to you? Record the importance as - not at all, somewhat, fairly, highly or extremely. 

Now next to it ask yourself how well you carry out this practice. Record your performance as - very poor, poor, okay, good or very good. 

Importance Performance Check

The things we track, we pay attention to. Across time, come back and record your new results. You will find that as you are intentional about making improvements, you will bump your "score" up higher. 

This is significant. Don't miss the opportunity to acknowledge your success, and use it as a springboard for making even further gain. 


Notes

Many leaders tend to perform for others. They continue to add commitments to their original mandate, until it's hard to distinguish what the true priority really is. They find themselves "running around in circles." This practice will take some real soul searching to be able to act with boldness and get back to your "one thing." 


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